What muscles do Romanian deadlifts target?

The Dumbbell Romanian deadlift is a deadlift variation targeting the back of your thighs (hamstrings) as you keep your legs as straight as your can.

This exercise is a great way to practice before moving on to the Barbell Romanian Deadlift.

How to do a Dumbbell Romanian deadlift?

When performing this type of deadlift, the dumbbells don’t touch the floor and your legs stay as straight as possible.

Hold the dumbbells against the front of your thighs with your arms extended and your feet hip-width apart. Your palms are facing you. Pull your shoulders back and down, engage your core and keep the slightest possible bend on your knees.

Keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed, send your hips back (imagine shutting the door with your butt) and lower the dumbbells until reaching your maximum hamstring flexibility (the dumbbells should go past your knees). Keep the dumbbells close to you and drive through your hips to return to your starting position.

Video Demo 

Pro tips

  • Try to not look up (you want to look just a few feet ahead of you to keep your neck in line with your back)

  • Imagine that you’re going to shut the door with your butt by sending your hips back

  • Engage your core on your way up to keep your back straight

How to tell if you’re doing it right?

It will fire up your hamstrings!